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Minister killed while attempting to aid pregnant shooting victim

Adebowale Ajagunna, left, stands with Alexander Melirrytos and John Adesoye at a celebration dinner in Heraklion, Greece. The dinner was in honor of Ajagunna’s completion of his doctorate degree. (Photo provided)

A global community of church members — in Africa, Europe and the U.S. — mourns Nigerian minister Adebowale Ajagunna, known as “Debo” by his friends.
Ajagunna, who worked with a Church of Christ in Greece, was shot to death May 1 in Ikare-Akoko, Nigeria. Robbery is the apparent motive.
The Nigerian native served a church in Heraklion, the largest city on the Greek island of Crete. The church is composed of expatriate converts, many of them from Nigeria. (See our 2007 story detailing the conversion of the church’s lead evangelist, John Adesoye, and a 2008 news brief about the congregation.)
Ajagunna, who moved to Greece in search of employment and earned a doctorate there, returned to Nigeria last year to be with his wife and three children. He was praying with members of his former congregation in Ikare-Akoko, a city in the southwestern Nigerian state of Ondo, when armed robbers entered the church building.
“Everyone ran for their life,” said Eleni Melirrytos, a member of the Omonia Church of Christ in Athens, Greece, and longtime friend of Ajagunna. “There was a pregnant lady who got shot and was asking for help. Debo had already left the room but came back to … help her. That is when he got shot.”
Ajagunna died from his injuries. The pregnant woman (and her unborn child) survived the attack, Melirrytos said.
Melirrytos and her husband, Alexander, make regular visits to the church in Crete and work with the Nigerian Christians there. Eleni Melirrytos provided some additional details about Ajagunna:

Debo was a faithful and joyful Christian man.
Debo came from Nigeria a few years ago searching for work and to further his education. We met him five years ago. Debo worked side-by-side with John Adesoye for the newly-established congregation in Heraklion, Crete. Both Alexander and I visited often and encouraged the church. Debo would always reconfirm his appreciation for the time and love it took for us to travel to the island and minister to the congregation. He was a very joyful and kind person.
Tom and Cheryl Black, mission workers to Sophia, Bulgaria, have joined us and visited often the congregation — and encouraged them in many ways. In March 2010, along with the Blacks and the brothers and sisters of the Crete congregation, we organized a celebratory dinner to share the joy and success of Debo’s graduation with his doctorate degree.
Each time we called him “doctor” he would put his head down and say, “Praise God.”

Eleni Melirrytos is collecting funds for Ajagunna’s wife and children. Send her a message through her website, “Cook with Eleni,” for more information.

  • Feedback
    Prayers for this church and all families involved.
    Greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for his friends.
    dewey leggett
    May, 10 2012
    What a tragic loss in the midst of enjoying what he loves the most. What an act of bravery to place the life of a fellow Christian above one’s own. I pray for his family and their continued comfort during this time of grief by prayers and the compassionate visiting of the saints. May God be with them forever.
    JF McClain
    May, 10 2012
    God will receive his soul.
    Chinedum Nwankwo
    May, 11 2012
    God will stand by his family and be father to them in Jesus name. I will miss Him. Grace covenant Campos fellowship akungba akoko.
    Ebijimi Ilemobayo
    May, 11 2012
    Pastor Adebowale Philip Ajagunna was a Pastor, i mean a real pastor pastoring his sheeps very well.
    He was actually shot on a crusade ground where He and His congregation suppose to hold a crusade few days to that incident.
    He didn’t leave behind that pregnant woman, He didn’t leave that sheep behind, rather He choose to die helping the wounded. I Love Him, He really follow the foot step of our Lord Jesus Christ. He led a mighty praise and worship during our Workers Conference before He died.
    He is now with our Lord Jesus Christ, what will your own end be like, check yourself.
    God bless you as you do that.
    Babalola Joseph Oluwadamilola
    May, 12 2012
    I pray God will comfort and watch over his wife and family each and every day.
    Paula Cwikiel
    May, 12 2012
    To God Be the glory
    A life so well spent in his dads vineyard
    whether through the callous hand of arm robbers of otherwise we would die.
    Where we end and who we end up with matters more.
    My deepest sympathy to the family. But know for sure, you did not loose your child and husband and father. For 1 Christ millions of us emerged.
    A great shepherd indeed.
    I never had the chance to meet you in life but We shall meet at the Lords feet.
    To all our brethren out there in Greece, Take heart. A son just went to be with his loving Dady.
    God bless and keep you all
    Tunde Joseph
    A missionary Pastor in Oyo, Nigeria
    Pastor Tunde Joseph
    May, 15 2012
    What a tragic situation. My prayers are with his family and all those who loved him and will miss him.
    Leslie Sweet
    May, 21 2012
    Bro Bowale was a good shepherd who died at his duty post guiding his sheep.I for one,know that if he were to be alive today,and he has another opportunity to lay his life down again-he will not hesitate.He died strong in the Lord.Since his death,I’ve recommitted myself to the service of the Lord and if not for anything but to see Bro Bowale’s face again-I will make HEAVEN.
    Modupe Aladeniyi
    May, 26 2012

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